Sunday 3 December 2023

Beaky Pike

Cold, cold day on the River Rother trying to find my new river double figure pike - didn't crack it this trip, but I did open my account for the season with this freaky looking pike - always brilliant to land a pike!

Never caught one with a head/mouth like this before, although I have seen photos of them. And it did remind me that watching a pike float bob, then sail away is the most exciting thing in fishing!

Thursday 16 November 2023

TK Minn

TC was going shopping to the maxx and somehow I was roped in - but the river was a twenty minute walk away - could I leave her shopping and snag a barbel? So while she was off touching every item of clothing in the shop (twice) I raced to the riverbank...

Aware that the phone call to stop fishing could come at any moment I had a quick roll in every likely looking spot (pausing briefly to photograph a November butterfly). Just one bite - but it was all I needed - an excellent shopping trip!!

Saturday 11 November 2023


One thing or another has kept me off the riverbank for nearly three weeks - including missing a 3 day trip to The Wye & Severn with James. Not enough time to go pike fishing, but I managed to squeeze a quick fishing-fix on the Small River in - a couple of hours, four barbel banked - a bend in the rod and a smile on my face!

Tuesday 24 October 2023

Luncheon Meat & Sole

A couple of very quick trips to the Small River, the second of which I spotted this beauty sat between two weedbeds - a proper fight - and a fantastic double at 10lb 12oz! They are turning their noses up at bread now - only luncheon meat will do - autumn is offically here!

And the sole... Not an 'eel... Guess I was in the right plaice...

With the weather finally turning and summer a distant memory I thought I'd look back on my Pre-Season targets:
  • Take my Small River barbel total to over 1,500 fish - 1,591
  • A new PB rudd (2lb+), roach (2lb+) or perch (3lb+) - 2lb 10oz
  • A new river (Thames?) double figure barbel - Severn
  • And a double figure pike from a new water
Three of four checked off - I still fancy a crack at the roach & perch PBs - but that last target needs to be addressed!

Saturday 14 October 2023


Had to use up the remaining maggots from The Itchen - only one thing for it - an afternoon on the Small River chasing gudgeon - and I caught loads! Probably 30+, so I thought I'd have a mini species hunt. Eight species including 2 ultra-rare perch and 12 mini-barbel...

Dace Perch
Roach Rudd
Chub Minnow
Gudgeon Barbel
...Cracking afternoon!

Wednesday 11 October 2023

Autumn Colours

A very sunny 26° - October t-shirt weather, not ideal conditions for a grayling fishing trip - but it's always great to be on the riverbank. A trip to the Lower Itchen with Danny, Keith & James...

Bit of a catch up - and a lot of wandering about on a beautiful stretch of the river - just to see what was around the next corner. Plus some stunning looking fish on the stick 'n' pin...

Thirty plus grayling...

Two salmon parr...

A couple of dozen brown trout...

Felt like hundreds of minnows...

And a couple of Sea trout.

Friday 6 October 2023

Lucky Severn

His Barbel Quest took James back to The Severn, I tagged along as I've never fished it before. We headed to a tidal section - a low population of fish, but they were rumoured to be big...

James was trying to add a double to his quest, I just wanted my first Severn barbel. Meat had worked well on The Wye but I wasn't convinced here - so I set up a second rod fishing a 16mm pellet...

To cut a long day short - fishing about 100 yards apart - only one bite between us in 12 hours (48 rod-hours). A barbel fell for the pellet - and what a barbel - it's always better to be lucky than good!!

One bite, one fish - 12lb 2oz - that'll do!

What a way to open my Severn account!!

Wednesday 4 October 2023

Shooting James 2

Day 2: James & the camera crew slept in bivvies - I crashed out in the car - was up before dawn, while James was in hair & make up (not really, they were waiting for enough light) - I headed onto The Wye...

Great start - 8lb 13oz - luncheon meat accounting for all the fish.

Followed by - 9lb 7oz - rolled or very light ledger.

Surviving trespassers will be shot again.

Well over time now - 7lb 7oz - as the sun came out.

And 5lb 7oz - before hacking it back to London.

Monday 2 October 2023

Shooting James 1

Day 1: James was doing a Drennen video, did I want to come down? Ummm. It's on a private stretch of the River Wye. Hell yeah! Water conditions weren't great after the recent rain - but it was very interesting to see how it was filmed. Did I take a rod with me?

Of course! First up - 8lb 0oz - they were feeding in the flood.

Oi you London folk - Get off my land!

Next up - 8lb 15oz - the business end.

Quick Pez - taste of America (can't get Pibb Xtra here).

And 9lb 5oz - thanks for the invite James - a fantastic day!

Saturday 30 September 2023

Summer Fishing 2023

End of September already! A quick look back at the summer season before it's wellies & wooly hats, written monthly as I went along...

June: I didn't wet a line in the closed season - but the opening morning made up for it - a double figure barbel before 9am! One of 38 Small River barbel in the first two weeks. The other highlight was rudd fishing in the boat with James - love that little boat. And not one, but two 2lb+ rudd to a new PB of 2lb 10oz - monster!

July: I took my Small River barbel total to over 1,500 and added double number 28 (recapture). Floating about in the boat I landed a surprise pike while rudd fishing. And two days on the Wye saw a lot of chub, plus three little barbel. The highlight of the month was a new river, Blackwater, barbel of 8lb 0oz on a tough rainy day.

August: Started with a fantastic trip to the Lake District catching carp from an old iron pit. A few local trips added 30 barbel to my season (Small River total now 96). I spent some time exploring the chalk stream & upper river with the stick 'n' pin - loads of brown trout, plus a 1lb 2oz roach. And I bagged my first 5lb+ chub of the season!

September: A few barbel took my season total to over 100 fish, but the main event was a fishing trip to the States. Over 20 sharks, seven red drum, 3 jacks and a massive stingray on light gear. I also enjoyed a bit of freshwater fishing; catching blue gill & some fantastic bowfin - and those swamp pike (chain pickerel) were absolutely amazing!

Can't wait to see what the winter season brings...